Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. France/United Kingdom, 2003. Fidélité Productions, France 2 Cinema, Gimages, FOZ, Headforce Ltd., Canal+. Screenplay by Francois Ozon, Emmanuele Bernheim, English translations by Sionann O’Neill. Cinematography by Yorick Le Saux. Produced by Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier. Music by Philippe Rombi. Production Design by Wouter Zoon. Costume Design by Pascaline Chavanne. Film Editing by Monica Coleman. Cannes Film Festival 2003.
Charlotte Rampling reunites with her Under The Sand director Francois Ozon for another probing psychological study, though the results aren’t as impressive. She plays a hard-edged English novelist who feels dried out and is unable to continue writing the successful series of detective mysteries that have made her a fortune for years. To help ease her mental block, her editor (Charles Dance) suggests she stay at his villa in France for a little rest and relaxation and possible inspiration. She takes him up on his offer, and when she arrives at the house instantly finds her creativity rejuvenated and her work flowing once again from her quick fingertips. Then Dance’s free-spirited teenaged daughter (Ludivine Sagnier) arrives and ruins everything. Now Rampling has to ignore the sounds of loud music and raucous sex going on in the house in order to complete her work, until she gets to know the young woman better and decides she is actually quite fond of her. The finale has a terrific twist, though some audiences will find it little compensation for what they’ve been waiting for all along. The film takes far too long to get going, but once it does it is quite enjoyable and the performances are superb.